Correspondence Regarding Japanese Fishermen

Correspondence Regarding Japanese Fishermen


Title Proper F0 GR1378 BOX 08 FILE 06
Date(s) 1941
General material designation
This file contains a textual record.
Scope and content
This file contains correspondence regarding the return of Japanese Canadians to coastal fisheries after the war. In particular, the Deputy Minister of Fisheries George Alexander issued a memorandum stating that since November 1946: 1. “The Federal Government has removed all restrictions on the movement of Japanese in Canada and, as a result, Japanese are again moving back to the coast”; 2. “During the present fishing season the Federal Government has issued fishing licences to some fifty to one hundred Japanese fishermen”; 3. “The number of fishing licences the Federal Department of Fisheries issued to Japanese before the war was definitely limited”; 4. “All restrictions regarding Japanese fishing in coastal waters, which were promulgated by orders under various sections of the War Measures Act have since been removed”; and 5. “At the last session of the B.C. Legislature, Bill No. 43 amended the Elections Act so that Japanese are now eligible to vote in British Columbia elections.”
Alexander details the licence application of Kitaro Nitta, 316 Powell Street, who operated a salmon dry-saltery. Alexander justifies prior limitations to the issuance of licences by arguing that men like Nitta use unfair hiring practices and familial employment to undercut white businesses. Alexander wishes to know federal policy moving forward whether similar pre-war restrictions will be implanted or not. He includes a table of dry-saltery licences issued to “whites” and “Japanese” from 1930 to 1948.
This file also contains a bunch of files on international fisheries commissions and foreign competition. [Arguably they are not relevant but have been included to reflect what the Commercial Fisheries Branch or the BC Archives considered a part of the “Correspondence Regarding Japanese Fishermen” file.] There are maps of the Columbia drainage basin, Miller Freeman publications (of particular note: “8 Points of Approach to the Problem of the Japanese in America”), and a copy of Pacific Fishermen’s News, 30 October 1946.
Name of creator
Immediate source of acquisition
The digital copies of the records were acquired by the Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective between 2014 and 2018.
This record was digitized in full.



Correspondence Regarding Japanese Fishermen
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Readers of these historical materials will encounter derogatory references to Japanese Canadians and euphemisms used to obscure the intent and impacts of the internment and dispossession. While these are important realities of the history, the Landscapes of Injustice Research Collective urges users to carefully consider their own terminological choices in writing and speaking about this topic today as we confront past injustice. See our statement on terminology, and related sources here.